Sunday, August 19, 2007
Book Report: Ghosts by Ed McBain (1980)
This book, an 87th Precinct novel coming from the old tradition of hardback mysteries under 200 pages in length, is a throwback even at its publication date. The phone numbers within it appear as town plus five digits. In Isola. In 1980. So I guess it was on the shelf for a decade or so before publication.

In it, Carella investigates the murder of a known writer whose fiction books were so-so, but whose nonfiction book on ghosts was a runaway bestseller. The murderer also killed a woman outside the writer's apartment building, and then moves on to kill the writer's editor and try to kill the writer's girlfriend, a medium--but the killer attacks the woman's twin sister inadvertantly. In the course of the investigation, Carella encounters some actual ghosts, marking one of the few if not the only time the supernatural makes its appearance in these books.

It's a decent enough thriller and a quick enough read.

Striking, though, is the back of the book which features two long paragraphs of praise for Ed McBain and this book from Stephen King. Ed McBain's been plying his trade for 25 years, and the book company puts an endorsement from a relatively recent, although popular, upstart to sell more books. How Mr. Lombino must have felt. Of course, he probably sold more books on account of it, so he probably was okay with it, as he was a professional.

Books mentioned in this review:

To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."